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Rakuten launches Rakuten Bosai Net to provide disaster support

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With the collaboration of Rakuten Ichiba merchants and Rakuten Travel hotels, Rakuten has launched the Rakuten Bosai Net (Rakuten Disaster Prevention Network) to offer nationwide disaster support in preparation for disasters.

The Rakuten Bosai Net is a disaster support network comprised of the head office, 16 branch offices, 90 merchants and 220 hotels. The company will recruit more businesses to participate and, at the same time, request the participation of local authorities based on collaborative relationships developed through the MACHI-RAKU regional revitalization project*. The aim for the network’s website is in July to provide a venue for sharing information in the event of a disaster on the operational status of participating merchants and hotels in the disaster area, the damage situation and other necessary support information, and to become a portal of information on merchants and hotels all over the country that are capable of engaging in disaster support activities such as providing relief supplies and space (emergency lodging, soup kitchens and baths).

The Rakuten Blog is used as the tool for disseminating the information provided, so participating merchants, hotels and local authorities (tentative) will be able to distribute disaster and relief information easily and in real time. The disseminated information will be consolidated and made available on the Rakuten Bosai Net, and starting in July, the information will be available for browsing by area according to the 47 prefectures. This information will be made available not only to network participants but also to the general public, so third parties will be able to find necessary relief information, and disaster victims will be able to gather various information such as where they can receive aid.

Through its branch offices, Rakuten will hold explanatory meetings for participating merchants and hotels to promote active utilization of the Rakuten Bosai Net. Moreover, the initiative will not stop at simply sharing information online. The company also plans to build an actual disaster prevention network by promoting collaboration between participating merchants, hotels and local authorities with Rakuten employees at branch offices in each area of the country serving a coordinating role.

This information site was born from a proposal submitted by a Rakuten employee who desired to give structure to a support system in preparation for future disasters based on the experiences of merchants and hotels affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake with uneasiness building over earthquakes that may be triggered by seismic activity along the Nankai Trough. The Great East Japan Earthquake provided a reminder that the Internet is an important infrastructure that is also useful in times of disaster as an instant and bidirectional means of communication. As such, Rakuten has interviewed merchants and hotels with which it already collaborates about their responses during the disaster and reviewed what it can do to offer support as an Internet service company. The network will be launched as a part of the company's CSR activities.

During times of calm, Rakuten staff will interview individuals that actually experienced disaster within merchant locations and hotels or that were involved in relief efforts and post them on the Rakuten Bosai Net. Multimedia blog Tumblr and videos will also be utilized to offer useful information related to disaster prevention from time to time.

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Sounds like a fantastic plan!

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